Miracle of Birth center: success at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair!

The Minnesota State Fair closed its doors a week ago and once again the Miracle of Birth Center has been a huge success. This attraction, one of the visitors favorite displays cows, sows, does, goats, and hens giving birth and caring for their offspring. Animals are selected based on their estimated delivery date so that at least one birthing happens every day during the Fair.

Drs. Matt Sturos, Jerry Torrison, Alex Bianco, Bob Morrison, Fabio Vannucci, Maria Pieters, and Perle Boyer, faculty members from the swine group at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota as well as Drs. Megan Thompson, Nathan Winkelman, Abigail Redalen and Michael Strobel, professionals from the pork industry volunteered their time and shared their knowledge and expertise with the Minnesotans in order to increase awareness on what is actually happening on an American farm nowadays. Let’s also not forget the great participation of our graduate students, Drs. Talita Resende, Catalina Picasso, Luiza Roos, Jorge Garrido, Michael Rahe, and Fernando Leite.

Among the thousands of visitors admiring new-born calves and piglets, the Miracle of Birth Center had the honor of receiving the visit of the President of the University of Minnesota.

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President Kaler visiting the Miracle of Birth Center at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair.

The Miracle of Birth Center has the very noble mission to educate people about modern farm production and we wish it many more successful years!

Ionophore intoxication in swine

In this month column of the National Hog Farmer, Dr. Albert Rovira from the University of Minnesota is reviewing the cases of intoxication due to ionophores, these antibiotics given through the feed to control bacterial and coccidial infections in swine.Clinical signs are non-specific. Indeed, pigs become weak and stop eating but do not have a fever. In more severe cases, neurological signs can be noted. However, histological lesions are striking with a dramatic change of the muscle structure as is shown in Figure 1 below.

ionophore-intoxication

There are three main causes of ionophore intoxication in swine:

  1. Dosage error in the diet: the optimal concentration is very small, between 15 and 30 parts per milliom.
  2. Mixing ionophore and tiamulin: Tiamulin prevents the ionophore from being excreted by the body, leading to toxic blood levels.
  3. Inclusion of ionophores designed for another species. Usually, the levels are incorporated at a concentration higher than the toxic level.

In conclusion although cases of ionophore intoxication are rare in swine, it may become more prevalent starting in 2017, with the approval of the only swine ionophore as a growth promotant.

Link to the full article

New swine virus identified in the US: introducing porcine sapelovirus

This past month, a team of swine pathologists including Dr. Albert Rovira from the University of Minnesota identified, thanks to funds from Swine Health Information Center’s Support for Diagnostic Fees program, a new swine virus called porcine sapelovirus.

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Histological lesion associated with infection by porcine sapelovirus

This virus is thought to induce atypical neurological signs in pigs and has previously been described in Korea. Videos of the clinical presentation can be been here.

Research is still on-going to prove Koch’s postulate and declare causality between the presence of the virus and the clinical presentation but it is a step forward in the identification and understanding of swine pathogens.

Full description of the porcine sapelovirus cases

What is the antimicrobial susceptibility of US Brachyspira species?

To answer this question, Drs. Mirajkar, Davies, and Gebhart from the University of Minnesota, collected a total of 124 field isolates originating from all over the country. In this study, four different Brachyspira species were evaluated for their susceptibility against the main antimicrobial medicines used in swine production. Overall the US isolates had the tendency to be less resistant to antimicrobials than were isolates from other countries. However, low susceptibility to lincomycin and to tylosin were noted in the domestic strains. Lastly, the authors raised the question of the lack of  Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute-approved clinical breakpoints for Brachyspira species which, by categorizing an isolate as sensitive, intermediate, or resistant, would be a tremendous help in determining the best treatment and control strategies at the farm level .

Mirajkar antimicrobial susceptibility brachyspira

Abstract: Outbreaks of swine dysentery, caused by Brachyspira hyodysenteriae and the recently discovered “Brachyspira hampsonii,” have reoccurred in North American swine herds since the late 2000s. Additionally, multiple Brachyspira species have been increasingly isolated by North American diagnostic laboratories. In Europe, the reliance on antimicrobial therapy for control of swine dysentery has been followed by reports of antimicrobial resistance over time. The objectives of our study were to determine the antimicrobial susceptibility trends of four Brachyspira species originating from U.S. swine herds and to investigate their associations with the bacterial species, genotypes, and epidemiological origins of the isolates. We evaluated the susceptibility of B. hyodysenteriae, B. hampsonii, Brachyspira pilosicoli, and Brachyspira murdochii to tiamulin, valnemulin, doxycycline, lincomycin, and tylosin by broth microdilution and that to carbadox by agar dilution. In general, Brachyspira species showed high susceptibility to tiamulin, valnemulin, and carbadox, heterogeneous susceptibility to doxycycline, and low susceptibility to lincomycin and tylosin. A trend of decreasing antimicrobial susceptibility by species was observed (B. hampsonii > B. hyodysenteriae > B. murdochii > B. pilosicoli). In general, Brachyspira isolates from the United States were more susceptible to these antimicrobials than were isolates from other countries. Decreased antimicrobial susceptibility was associated with the genotype, stage of production, and production system from which the isolate originated, which highlights the roles of biosecurity and husbandry in disease prevention and control. Finally, this study also highlights the urgent need for Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute-approved clinical breakpoints for Brachyspira species, to facilitate informed therapeutic and control strategies.

Link to the full article

One flu, many colors – Drs. Culhane and Rovira in the National Hog Farmer

One flu, many colors: that is the title of the latest article published in the National Hog Farmer by two faculty members from the University of Minnesota, Drs. Culhane and Rovira. If it is common to talk about one influenza especially in the One Health initiative which reminds us that human and animal health are intricately related, the authors also emphasize that there are “many variants of influenza A viruses [which] paint a complicated picture, sometimes with colors too numerous to grasp with quick glances.”

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Because influenza is common to swine, poultry, and human, there are many differences among the strains, enhanced by the variations found between and within geographic locations. This is why our experts recommend to characterize the virus, and go one step further than the one test common to all influenza A.

As they put it themselves, “Influenza A viruses are fascinating, challenging and dynamic” and it is important to determine their colors.

Link to the full article